There are many types of dining experiences, from fine dining, to fast casual, and most of the time you sit down to a table laid out with glasses and silverware. A first bite at El Ideas could come with a plate, but that may be about the only conventional start to the meal, as Chef Phillip Foss asks you to lick your plate (or wear out your dinner welcome).
Signing up for a meal at this Michelin star, Chicago hot-spot is a culinary adventure, and a wonderful social experience. The setting is casual, located in warehouse neighborhood in Chicago’s south side, with a small dining room and open air kitchen. The goal at El Ideas is all about interacting, with the staff, with the food, and with other diners if you so choose. While the food is fine, the atmosphere is light and fun, and the BYOB nature of the restaurant lets you guide your drinking experience.
We chose to start with a Chandon Blancs de Blancs sparkling wine for the beginning of the meal, moved to a Sotor Pinot Noir for the middle of the meal, and ended with more sparkling with “dessert”. These are two easy drinking wines which we knew would be well with any menu items.
The featured menu for the day included many courses and bites, ranging from an eastern “Fish Fry” to italian style Gnudi, to the crowd favorite and standing menu item, “French Fries and Ice Cream”. The grand finale was a flambéed Baked Alaska, which was a wonderful ending to the extensive journey of a meal. The menu changes with the times and the inspiration, and the chefs do a great job of accommodating many dietary restrictions.
El Ideas charges a fine dining price for its creative and colorful menu, but the experience you get is about more than just the food, but also a great night out leaving you excited about what’s to come. If you think all fine dining is stuffy, El Ideas will change your mind, and remind you about how fun playing with your food can be. Until the next bite, bon appétit!